A funny thing happened the other day when we drinking heavily at a bar in DC with our college friend Mike. His fiancée didn't show up to meet us, and we began to wonder whether there was a reason we hadn't received our "Save The Date" notices yet. Good thing the next sentence out of his mouth was, "Would you believe some people thought they hadn't been invited because they hadn't gotten Save The Date notices?" Ha! "How absurd is the 'Save The Date'? Anyone who expects a "Save The Date" so they can cross out their weekend nine months in advance should just forget about coming altogether, they're clearly too important to be our friends." We decided Mike, whose lady assured us that he did more than his share of their wedding planning, would be the perfect wedding planner for us in the event (heh) THAT happens, and commissioned him to write this short opinion piece, "Planning A Wedding Is No Big Deal And If You Think It Is The Terrorists Have Won."
Put down that $10 copy of the summer issue of Martha Stewart Weddings. Stop watching Bridezillas. And no matter how much you long for validation from all the other brides who also obsess over every last detail, step the hell away from The Knot. Because planning a wedding is just not that fucking hard.
My fiancée and I are getting married in October and, as far as we can tell, the whole thing is pretty much planned already. This fact seems to stun people who, upon learning of our elaborate plan to wed, assume that commiserating over how tremendously stressed out about this awesome responsibility we must be is a bulletproof small-talk strategy. Sure, we both know people who spent hours and hours in the months before their weddings running around from meeting to meeting, updating their personalized WeddingChannel.com pages or generally going berserk over the whole thing. But instead of being stressed out, we're mostly confused about what, exactly, is supposed to be so complicated about this that there are already two editions of Wedding Planning For Dummies. We've dealt with the whole thing ourselves, with no hired-gun consultant overseeing it and hardly any logistical input from either set of parents (though they are helping to foot some of the bill, which FYI is coming in just under the national average of $37,000). And we're not doing some radically scaled-down anti-wedding, either — we're having a Saturday night party in Washington, D.C., with more than 120 guests, a live band, plenty of flowers, etc. (Though according to Macy's, we're "happy hipsters," so who knows, maybe the whole thing will wind up coming off like a bad night at Misshapes.)
Here's what we did: we went to see some venues. They're in the phone book, guys! You can just walk right in and look around! We found one that could accomodate an open bar for all of our friends for a decent price. We sacrificed top shelf liquor in the name of the budget, but we knew from experience that well booze gets you just as drunk as the expensive stuff. If not drunker. We tried to get away with not inviting our billions of young cousins, but when my aunt pulled a fast one on us and got the kids lobbying, we gave up — but I think we've got good leverage to make the cousins babysit our future kids for free. Then we called a talent agency, which sent us a DVD with demos of bands. We watched the DVDs and chose one. They even let us check them out in person first. Then we found a rabbi who wouldn't mind starting the ceremony a bit before sundown on a Saturday. The rabbi was the hardest part. It wasn't that hard.
It's one thing to get all freaked out over your wedding if you're the kind of asshole who wants a "long bar made completely from ice and monogrammed with (your) initials," serve "signature Matt-tinis and Love-mopolitans" to your guests or do your hora-ing on a "custom-made white dance floor." If that all sounds good to you, there's no cure for your egotism, and apparently you've decided the world is perfect and you can waste money instead of giving to charity, so by all means, go crazy.
But for the rest of us, despite what Jezebel reported a few months ago, it's just not true that "once you're in it, you're in it, you gotta have the best band, the best flowers, the best dress."
There's no reason to bother meeting with more and more vendors if you've found someone whose work you like and whose price fits your budget. Is it possible that someone getting married across town from us is going to have better flowers? Maybe, but our guests won't know, so we don't care. (Besides, does such a thing as "better flowers" even exist? Oh, you know what? Fuck you.) If you actually know anyone who cares that your tablecloths don't match the colors on your invitations, tell them that you're very sorry, but they received the invitation in error and you hope they'll make alternate plans for the evening. If you never start worrying about that kind of bullshit, it'll never have the chance to take over your life.
And if you can remember that the basic goal of your guests will be to a) try to get their money's worth in booze and food for all the gifts they had to buy you and b) get laid, it's easy not to go too overboard. It's just a big party! Just like all the other parties you've thrown in your life! Okay, with a rabbi/priest/minister/imam/whatever, fine, but they're just stoked they didn't have to buy you gifts. Trust me, a little open-bar scotch and any decent imam will overlook the flaws in your color scheme.
All the manufactured stress does seem to underscore the one truly excellent insight in Rebecca Mead's new book (I mean, at this point haven't we all beento enough weddings to know that, duh, shit's gotten out of hand?): that with more and more couples living together before marriage, there's no actual, legitimate traumatic event at the end of a wedding anymore. (Well, unless you're, ahem, "saving yourself for marriage"). Instead of losing their minds because they're moving out of their parents' house and starting a new life with a man they don't know that well, brides lose their minds because they can't find monogrammed flower pots or because they don't know how wide their chair ties are.
So brides of America, chill the fuck out! You have nothing to lose but your chains. And your full-length trains. Remember, it's not like you have real problems.